Pool Pipework & Location of Equipment

Water circulation

Basically a pool is a water storage tank that is also used for swimming.

The water is circulated via a system of pipes and into a water filtration plant.

Skimmer boxes

A skimmer box is a pre cast plastic bucket like weir that is set into the pool wall during concreting stage.

The skimmer box has a window opening facing into the pool and usually a front weir flap.

The skimmer is set at a height that enables the water level to be approximately half way up the window.

Water flows into the skimmer box and then travels in the suction line away to the filter.

The skimmer box is designed to draw water from the surface and collect floating dust and leaves etc.

Inside the skimmer box is a leaf trap basket to catch leaves and other floating items.

There is a safety lid which opens from the top of the skimmer to enable access to the basket.

Modern skimmers in concrete pools are very safe for children and the lid can be locked down if required.

Skimmer lids are available in a range of colours to match paving or decking that forms the pool surrounds.

Some larger home pools may require two or more skimmer boxes based on a suggested formula of one skimmer for every 30m2 of pool surface area.

For pool locations with lots of trees we advise extra skimmer boxes and hence more leaf traps.

One of the regular pool jobs is to clean out the basket.

You can train your kids to do that.

Pipe sizes

Water resistance in pipes reduces as the pipe diameter increases.

If the water resistance is too high you will be wasting energy and increasing your power bill.

Most household pools have a 50mm suction line from the skimmer boxes to the pump.

Also extra bends in the pipes add to the resistance so a short straight suction line pipe is the best for water flow.

The circulation pump is located in the pipework before the filter.

The water is pushed into filter by the pump.

The pump has a hair and lint pot with another basket to catch smaller rubbish before it gets to the filter.

After passing through the filter and sterilization system, such as a salt chlorinator, the water returns to the pool in 40mm or 50mm pipework.

The size of the pipe depends on the filtration pump size.

The pump is selected by the pool builder based on the water flow that it creates and the time to circulate all of the pool water.

In my experience we try to circulate the entire pool in a 6 hour period or less.

For the academics: a simple formula is

(Pool volume in litres) divided by 4 hours divided by 60 minutes = flow rate /minute.

We expect a Zodiac 1.0HP pump to circulate 300 litres/ minute.

Putting a bigger pump on the system will not flow any better without also upgrading all of the pipework diameter.

Adjustable pool return eyeballs

Your pool designer will locate the water returns positions hopefully towards the skimmer boxes to assist with surface skimming.

The number of return eyeballs is a function of pool shape and even prevailing winds.

The eyeballs are just under the water level and the direction can be adjusted from inside the pool.

Most eyeballs are white plastic however for people who like a bit of BLING, stainless steel eyeballs are available at an extra cost.

Heater pipes just for the heater

I believe the most efficient heating method is to have the heater and the filter system on separate plumbing lines.

The pump, filter and chlorinator sterilize the water and are usually activated during pre-set times such as the morning and evening.

The heater however with a timer and thermostatic control operates when the temperature switch activates the heater. The running times obviously can be different.


Pool water is colder at the deepest section

Therefore heater pipe suctions are placed lower in the pool wall than the surface eyeball returns.

The cold water is then circulated to the heater and then also returns to the lower section of the pool.

Science says hot water then rises to the top and hopefully provides an evenly heated pool.

Heater pipes installed in the pool shell at concrete stage can enable future heater installation without having to dig up the pipes.

Heater pipes safety suctions have to be greater than 1.0 m apart so people cannot get caught in the suctions.

Heater pipes usually have two suctions and two returns so you will have two more eyeballs and two safety suction covers.

Standard equipment location

The pumps and filters are best located more than 3.5 m from the pool and hopefully less than 10m.

Longer suction lines may require larger diameter pipes and more powerful pumps and extra costs.

Filter location is one of the first items covered in our initial design interview.

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